The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two grants to help reduce students’, teachers’ and staffs’ exposure to pests and pesticides in our nation’s schools, while saving money, energy and pesticide treatment costs.

“Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society, and EPA is working to protect them from needless threats,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the office of chemical safety and pollution prevention. “Our goal is to have schools across the nation implement sustainable pest management practices to provide a healthier learning environment for our students and teachers.” Children’s Exposure to Pesticides

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Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to controlling pests that focuses on prevention. This program is designed to utilize all appropriate pest management strategies, including the judicious use of pesticides.

These strategies include repairing water leaks, adding weather stripping to windows, and installing door sweeps.  The result is a reduction in pest problems, pesticide use, and treatment costs along with water and energy savings. The IPM approach emphasizes removing the underlying conditions for pest to thrive.

Children’s Exposure to Pesticides

The two projects that received awards are:

NEHA Mentorship Program for Developing School IPM Capabilities– National Environmental Health Association, $241,000

This project will promote effective and environmentally sensitive pest management practices in schools through an intensive mentorship program between local health departments and underserved school districts. The mentorship program, pairing local health departments with school districts, will provide increased access to technical resources, and partnerships. This project will take place in 2016 and 2017.

Keeping the Pests Out: The Economics of Integrated Pest Management in Schools – Health Resources in Action, $300,000

This project will examine the costs and benefits of implementing school IPM activities. Currently, there are only a few studies about the economics of school IPM. This project will help school districts understand the costs and benefits associated with establishing and sustaining IPM programs. The results of this two year project will be available in early 2018.